I have been thinking about freedom lately.  When we are free, we grow. We learn. We enjoy life. We prosper. I've got the Rascal's song in my head.  People everywhere just wanna be free! It's something that humans have in common with all living things. It's one of the things that makes the world go round.

So, I have a three-year-old and a four-year-old. What does freedom look like in our house?

Photo by Elizabeth Melisandre

Photo by Elizabeth Melisandre

Um, a little messy. 

As I try to find a balance between housekeeping and giving my children the freedom that they crave to learn and grow, the learning and the growing almost always seem to win out. As a result, I have a very messy house and very independent learners.  

Cinderella's carriage. It was supposed to be orange but then mixing all of the colors together is way better.

Cinderella's carriage. It was supposed to be orange but then mixing all of the colors together is way better.

As I scroll through Instagram photos of play based learning in charming French villas with children in their neutral toned organic cotton jumpers playing with wooden open ended toys, I smile. That's nice. They have white wooden lego free floors and I have how-long-has-it-been-sticky-here floors. Maybe I am a special needs mom who just can't quite get it together. Or maybe I'm just a mom who adores seeing her kids joyful laughter as they get their hands dirty, problem solve, explore the world, and develop life skills.  I get a real kick out of seeing this growth. I feel the stickiness of the floor beneath my feet but I can't be bothered to wipe it up right now, because my kids are learning and I've got to snap a picture of it. I've got to bear witness to the amazing learning that is taking place before my very eyes.

Yes this is spaghetti. Yes it's all over the floor. I'm not sure about the game but I'm sure about the learning.  She was very focused and had a purpose.  It's not true that four year olds have short attention spans.

Yes this is spaghetti. Yes it's all over the floor. I'm not sure about the game but I'm sure about the learning.  She was very focused and had a purpose.  It's not true that four year olds have short attention spans.

Getting the fire truck ready.

Getting the fire truck ready.

Preparing dinner. Working together. Talking about zucchini and where it comes from. 

all the world over, so easy to see
people everywhere just wanna be free
listen, please listen, that’s the way it should be
peace in the valley, people got to be free
— The Rascals

A child's project might look like a total mess to adults, but to them it is a masterpiece.  If we, as their parents and teachers, value their work, we are teaching them that their opinions matter. Their ideas are good.  They are capable of solving whatever problem that this world throws at them.  And this, my friends, is a "change the world" kind of mindset.

Do you ever struggle between keeping your house safe and clean and letting your children be free?

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